Ditching The Invisible Mask

A puppet wearing a blue surgical mask

Over the last couple of years, we have all got used to seeing and wearing masks as we go about our daily lives. It’s been part of our routine to pick up a mask as we leave the house and put one on as we enter a supermarket or get on a bus. However, many people, including myself, have worn a mask for a lot longer than the last couple of years. These masks are usually invisible…..until the mask starts to slip!

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“You Just Need To Trust God More!”

A blue hardback New Testament Bible with a box of medication on top

This past week has been ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’. Since the pandemic began, people have become much more aware of their mental health. Mental health has also been talked about more on television and in newspapers and magazines, with experts giving advice on how to improve your mental health. However, there are still some people who dismiss others who have mental health issues, implying that they’re making it up or that they need to “get a grip”. Sadly, this type of reaction can happen in churches too.

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Why Go To A Christian Event Like Spring Harvest?

Almost every year since 1984 I have been staying, for about a week every year, at a holiday camp. Nothing too unusual about that you might think, but I choose to spend it at an event called Spring Harvest. Spring Harvest has been around since 1979, so I started attending fairly early on in the event. So what makes me go to a Christian event each year and what makes me spend my holiday with a few thousand other Christians? Here are a few reasons…

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Becoming a Disability Champion: The Additional Needs Adventure Continues!

Church show a brick built church. It has wooden doors. Above the doors is a circle with the words "St Saviour's Sunbury" on it. In front of the building, on the left hand side is a tree.

If you’ve read my blog post ‘Additional Needs Ministry – My Journey So Far’, you’ll know that God started me off on a change of course over ten years ago which lead me to be an Inclusion Champion at our previous church. Since moving churches, I’ve kept the conversation about disability inclusion going and the adventure has continued…

At the beginning of March, I was approached by the vicar of our church and asked whether I would consider becoming the Disability Champion for our church. After spending some time praying about it (and also asking friends to pray), I accepted the role. Now, you might be sitting reading this and reacting a bit like Harry Potter when Hagrid tells him that he’s a wizard – “I’m a what?”. Well, hopefully by the end of this blog, you’ll know more about what a church Disability Champion does.

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A Book That Every Children’s, Youth and Families Worker Needs To Read!

On 16th February, I was privileged to be involved in the book launch of ‘How to Include Autistic Children and Young People in Church’. This book was written by my good friend Mark Arnold. I and my Son had previously written a blog post for Mark about transitioning from the church youth group to ‘Adult’ church. This blog post was included in the book, hence the invite to the book launch! Mark is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, Co-Founder of the Additional Needs Alliance and Founder of The Dad’s Fire Circle. He is also Dad to a wonderful young man who has additional needs. This blog takes a brief look at the book.

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“Everyone Gets Nervous!” – A Look at Anxiety

A few years ago, I was preparing to speak to members of the Thames Valley District (a group of local Baptist churches) about additional needs inclusion within a church setting. A member of the church I was at at the time asked how I was feeling. When I replied that I was feeling really anxious, they replied with the words in the title of this blog post. It actually made me feel that I was wrong to be feeling the way I was and did nothing to help my anxiety. So what is anxiety and can you learn to live with it?

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Carry On Live Streaming

No, this isn’t the title of a new Carry On film, but a quick look at some of the groups who benefit from church services being live streamed. When the UK went into the first lockdown at the start of the pandemic, something wonderful happened – churches closed the building’s doors and they started to live stream their services instead! Now, this may not sound hugely earth shattering, but online church services had been something that some in the disabled community had requested for many years. Sadly, the Church had often seemed reluctant to do it (saying it would be too complicated and difficult to do). Thanks to the pandemic live streamed church services are now happening each week. It’s not just the disabled community that has benefitted from churches live streaming their services though, there are several other groups too. Let’s have a brief look at them.

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What A Year It’s Been!

Photo of Lynnette sitting on a sofa with a studio light and video camera pointed towards her

A year ago today, I nervously hit the publish button and “2020 – A Positive Year?” launched this blog. At the time I didn’t know if I was any good at writing or whether anyone would be interested in reading anything that I wrote. As it turns out, people seem to like what I write! I still don’t know whether that means I’m any good at writing, although friends say I am (but they may be biased!). The blog has covered topics such as childhood bereavement, additional needs and mental health. So far it has had 2,647 views from 2,125 visitors from 40 countries – not bad for a newbie to this writing lark! I was also asked to write a guest blog for Growing Hope, a charity that provides free therapy for children and young people with additional needs. What else has happened in the last year though?

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Busting Ten Autism Myths

There’s a lot of myths about Autism that are out in society. My good friend Mark has a look at his top 10 myths. Have you ever said any of these? If you have, please stop and consider correcting the myths when you hear them instead

The Additional Needs Blogfather

There are an awful lots of Autism myths out there; most are ridiculous, some would actually be quite funny if they weren’t so harmful, but they do seem to somehow persist in the national consciousness. So, here’s my guide to the top ten Autism myths and how we can bust them:

  1. “We’re all ‘on the spectrum’ somewhere.” Autism is a neurodiversity, a different way of the brain being wired. You are either Autistic, or not; so no, you can’t be “A little bit Autistic.”
  2. “Children can grow out of it.” Autism is a difference hard wired into the brain. It is an integral part of who an Autistic person is and cannot be “grown out of” or “cured”. There are loads of ‘treatments’ and ‘therapies’ out there, but mostly they seem to be about trying to force an Autistic child to behave like a non-Autistic child; few are of…

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